URI alumnus John King to speak, three others to receive honorary degrees at URI’s Commencement Ceremonies, May 23

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URI alumnus, three others to receive honorary degrees

KINGSTON, R.I. –April 15, 2010—John King, anchor of CNN’s new evening program, John King, USA and CNN’s chief national correspondent, will speak at the University of Rhode Island’s undergraduate ceremonies on May 23 and receive an honorary doctor of humane letters. The ceremonies begin at noon on the Kingston campus’ quadrangle.

Previously, King was anchor of State of the Union with John King, a four-hour block of Sunday news programming. During the 2008 presidential campaign, he gained prominence with his use of CNN’s new “Magic Wall,” a pioneering technology that allowed touch screen navigation of key election vote counts and demographics.

King’s journalism career began as a student intern at the Associated Press office in Providence, where his assignments included covering the legislature and other state and city government issues. Before he graduated in 1985, AP hired him full-time. After a stint at AP-Boston, he moved to Washington D. C. to cover national politics for the wire service.

King switched from print to broadcast journalism when he joined CNN in 1997. He served as CNN’s White House correspondent from 1999 to 2005.

During his career, he has covered six presidential campaigns, the first Persian Gulf War, the inauguration of Nelson Mandela, and the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, the Iraq War, and the Sept. 11 terrorists attacks.

URI to confer four honorary degrees

In addition to John King, URI will confer honorary degrees to three people who have distinguished themselves in business, art, and community service. The recipients are:
• Sadayuki Sakakibara, president, chief executive officer, and chief operating officer of Toray Industries, Inc., which is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan will receive an honorary degree in humane letters.

With net sales of $16 billion, Toray is a world leader in synthetic fibers, carbon fiber technology, and the number one BO-PET film manufacturer. The top executive oversees the work of 224 subsidiaries and affiliates in 21 countries, including Toray Plastics (America), located in North Kingstown, a major supporter of the URI College of Engineering, providing research collaborations, undergraduate scholarships, internships, employment opportunities and more.

During the last decade, Mr. Sakakibara steered Toray into a global leadership role by developing advanced materials with reduced environmental impact. To combat climate change, the company creates materials to make automobiles and aircraft lighter. The new Boeing 787 is estimated to weigh 20 percent less in its structural elements, thanks to Toray’s pioneering process of carbon fiber reinforced plastics. That same process is expected to reduce the weight of a standard sedan 30 percent.

The United Nations Association of New York presented Mr. Sakakibara and Toray Industries with its 2008 Humanitarian Award in recognition of Toray’s environmentally friendly business activities and its corporate social responsibility activities that target sustainable growth.

• Lesa Terry, an internationally renowned jazz violinist, composer, artistic director, educator, and scholar will receive an honorary doctor of arts degree.

Known for her creative interpretation of music and innovation in musical performance, she is the founder and musical director of the Women’s Jazz Orchestra of Los Angeles that has performed at such venues as the 2008 World Festival of Sacred Music.

Ms. Terry’s accomplishments include membership with the Atlanta and Nashville Symphony Orchestras, as well as performances with the Uptown String Quartet and Max Roach Double Quartet. She has performed with URI Professor Ann Danis at URI, in France and Los Angeles. Together they participated in a special concert for poet Maya Angelou.

A noted music educator, Ms. Terry has lectured, held clinics, workshops, and demonstrations for the United Nations, North Atlantic Fiddle Conference, American String Teachers Association, the Duke Ellington Conference, International Association of Jazz Educators, the Julliard School of Music and many more.

Her 2001 CD, A City Called Heaven, Spirituals for Jazz Violins, highlights her commitment to the African American diaspora through music, jazz improvisation, and healing through music.

• Karen Adams, anchor for WPRI-TV and Fox Providence for more than 20 years, has won many awards during her broadcasting career, including the coveted Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for Individual Achievement in Anchoring for all of New England.

Her achievements extend beyond her professional role at Eyewitness News. As an eyewitness to the people’s needs, Ms. Adams has consistently responded to raise awareness and donations for the state’s nonprofit organizations that provide programs and support to improve the lives of Rhode Islanders. URI will confer an honorary doctor of humane letters degree upon her for this generosity of spirit and commitment to helping others.

She has taken a lead role in raising money for Crossroads Rhode Island, Community Prep, Special Olympics, Big Sisters, Hasbro Children’s Hospital, East Bay Community Action Coalition, Literacy Volunteers of Rhode Island, MADD, and the Women’s Health Initiative. She recently co-chaired a $15 million campaign for Meeting Street and co-hosts that organization’s annual telethon.

She also co-chairs annual charity golf tournaments and walks including “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer,” “The Providence Ronald McDonald House Walk” and the “Walk for Life” of Rhode Island Project AIDS.